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mystery candidates promise a clean sweep

Original post made by james caravelle, another community, on Jan 15, 2010

It's only January. However two individuals who have yet to announce their candidacy promise to align themselves with a standing member of the City Council who has been so far stymied in bringing about any real change at the Atherton Town hall.

These two candidates will run independently from one another. However they share a common cause, to rid the Town of the kind of dishonesty, denial and self-deception that has lasted for many years.

Stay tuned, it should be an interesting election season.

Comments (22)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by smartvoter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 15, 2010 at 9:25 am

If I were a betting man, I would say Peter Carpenter is one of the mystery candidates.

You go Peter!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 15, 2010 at 10:07 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I hereby disclaim ANY interest in running for the Town Council. After 8 1/2 years as an elected Director of your Fire District (and a total of over 25 years of public service at the federal and local level) I have taken on the highest office in a democracy - Citizen. As a Citizen I will work tirelessly to improve my community and to encourage others to do the same.

I also feel that the Atherton Town Council would be well served by some new blood from the younger generations - hopefully they will respond to the challenge.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Jan 15, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Thank you Peter Carpenter. The FIRST person to answer a question with dignity, poise and a hope for the future.
He is correct in suggesting adding new and young blood to all of these money making jobs which have produced little gain except for the very rich in the adjoining towns his paper serves.
He runs a terrific paper, is fair, has good editors, and the stories are not slanted to any income group.
I would vote for him if he were so inclined to run. I am sure he has some ideas, but is too honest to push them on to his readers.
I salute you and your commitment to your job and ethics.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Moira
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jan 15, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Peter Carpenter runs a newspaper? That's news to me!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 15, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I also disclaim any interest in running a newspaper.

I think Tom Gibboney and his colleagues are doing a great job with the Almanac and I wouldn't want to have to compete with them. As a Citizen one of my jobs is to help the media do an even better job by participating in forums such as this and by being accessible to the press.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by draft Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 15, 2010 at 1:37 pm

If it is legal to file papers on behalf of another Atherton resident, I stand ready, willing and able to write a check for the Committee to Elect Peter Carpenter to the Atherton City Council.

Now is the time for the honest, the humble and the gifted to serve on our City Council.

If Peter won't go there voluntarily, lets draft him into service.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by LOUISE
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 15, 2010 at 1:47 pm

UNFORTUNATELY, MR. GORDON'S MOMENTARY CONFUSION OVER MR.CARPENTER'S "EDITORIAL'" PARTICIPATION IN THIS BLOG WITH THE ACTUAL EDITOR OF THE ALMANAC NEWSPAPER IS ALL TOO UNDERSTANDABLE---THERE IS ENOUGH BREAKING NEWS AND INVESTIGATIVE DIOLOG SUBMITTED ON LINE, IT THAT MANY READERS HAVE COME TO RELEY ON THE "TOWN FORUM" FOR THIER NEWS
SO DON'T BE EMBARRASSED FOR THE MISTAKE MR. GORDON
TAKE NOTE MR. GIBBONY-- AND START CRACKING THE WHIP ON YOUR OWN REPORTERS
AND THANK YOU MR. CARPENTER FOR WHATEVER WAY YOU CHOOSE TO CONTINUE TO PARTICIPATE IN CIVIC DIOLOG--WE NEED YOU--AND YOU HAVE MY VOTE OF CONFIDENCE


 +   Like this comment
Posted by grassroots
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 15, 2010 at 3:11 pm

If (and that is a big if) we can convince Peter Carpenter to run, we still need another viable candidate who is truly interested in transparency.

Ideally this candidate would have a track record of success in business, combined with a healthy skepticism of government.

We know someone who truly appreciates that power corrupts and that the Atherton Town government, especially the Police Department wields far too much power.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Moira
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jan 15, 2010 at 3:40 pm

That's the problem with politics in Atherton -- lots of big talk, but no one wants to step up and actually run for office.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by grassroots
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 15, 2010 at 5:40 pm

If (and that is a big if) we can convince Peter Carpenter to run, we still need another viable candidate who is truly interested in transparency.

Ideally this candidate would have a track record of success in business, combined with a healthy skepticism of government.

We know someone who truly appreciates that power corrupts and that the Atherton Town government, especially the Police Department wields far too much power.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by bystander
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jan 15, 2010 at 5:51 pm

I have no idea who these two so called mystery candidates are.

However I do hope and pray that one of them is goes by the pen name of "Candle Lighter". I have read that person's posts on this town square forum.

I have found "Candle Lighter" to be provocative, insightful, sensitive and to the point.

He or she claims a west Atherton Address. So I do hope this person does in fact live in Atherton and steps forth and claim the mantle of leadership that he or she deserves.

Candle Lighter is the kind of person I would go door to door for.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Candle Lighter
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jan 15, 2010 at 11:32 pm

Thanks for the kudos, but I'm not interested in running for council. I think I would find it too frustrating when the obvious things Atherton needs to do in order to reform are continually ignored.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jan 16, 2010 at 10:24 am

Best of Luck to all of the residents of Atherton. I attended the last government meeting of your town and had the pleasure to meet Mr. Peter Carpenter, and listen to his advice to the council. Your town has a lot of new players now, meaning new Police Chief, Town/City Manager, Finance Director, and Attorney just to name a few.

Your new manager either doesn't know the history of the Atherton Police Department or his is acting like a politician. He made a comment/statement that Atherton Police Department is one of the finest around. Others on this blog know different and the entire council knows different. I am still surprised I have not seen an apology from the council for the non-disclosure of the $230,000 settlement and who authorized it to your ex-police officer.

Best of Health


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Candle Lighter
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jan 16, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Michael, Jerry Gruber stating that the Atherton P.D. is the finest around is just an example of the ongoing vicious cycle in Atherton of police problems. The police do something wrong, take some heat for it, and tell the town manager/city council that they "are not being supported". Whereas the correct support should be the town manager/city council proactively making corrections for the wrongful acts (and this is the correct support as it is the only action that can be taken to prevent the wrongdoing from recurring), the path of least resistance has usually been to bow to their demands through public expressions of support and confidence.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jan 16, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Candle Lighter, I couldn't agree with you more. Before that statement was made the meeting was making what I think was good healthy dialog. you had council members stating
(1) "from now on we must take the high road." " I can't sit out this council if we don't take the high road."
(2) "We knew we didn't have legal authority."

Then you have Jerry Gruber make his statement, which was just unbelievable to me and I'm sure the council. Thats where reality has to come to play, somebody from the council or even your new Police Chief could have commented on his statement and got the meeting back on track of honest dialog. That did not happen.

Atherton just got rid of a Police Chief who was making inappropriate comments/requests for a steam engine train to be donated and other donation to his daughter etc. From one of Atherton's older resident. You have had Police Officers stealing from residents, You've had 2 Police Chief's illegally accessing the Criminal Computer System against citizens and your last financial director.

The point is I think now is a good time for the council to once and for all change the behavior, in order for that to happen they must stop the BS as soon as they hear it correct it and get back on track. I think your council is sincere, and its OK if they disagree on subjects thats healthy.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jan 16, 2010 at 5:03 pm

One thing the Council could do right away is address the behavior between their Police Department and the residents. Protect them and their property only, do not socialize with them, do not feed their animals for two months while they are out of the country. I have said this before that some people could be using Atherton as a Hunting ground. The very old and isolated and wealthy make easy targets.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by confused
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 16, 2010 at 10:59 pm

So -- you mean no officers living rent free in pool houses or regularly attending country club events as guests??


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Incidents, One After Another
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jan 17, 2010 at 12:34 am

Here's a sampling of the litany of scandals with the Atherton P.D. over the last ten years (in rough chronological order):

1. Ofc. Richard Ponce accessing the criminal database to look up information about a man his ex-girlfriend was dating, was fired (yet staunchly defended by now Chief Mike Guerra; says a lot about his judgment in my view).

2. Former Chief Cader also improperly accessing the same database, and getting criminally prosecuted for voter fraud (then resigning).

3. Dispatcher Anita Blick involved in worker's comp. fraud allegations, sentenced to jail, and then exonerated.

4. Employment lawsuits from two former captains Chaput and Taggert.

5. Bob Brennan assaulting an Atherton resident via throwing an object on his desk at her (swept under the rug; no criminal charges).

6. John Johns/Bob Brennan feud degenerating into massive litigation.

7. Pilar Buckley lawsuit.

8. Ofc. Clark Yee criminally prosecuted for stealing a resident's golf clubs.

9. Investigation of allegations of theft from the APOA by Ofc. David Metzger (though no charges filed).

10. Recent factual innocence/false arrest/judicial censuring.

The two database abuse incidents are listed on CopWatch

Web Link

as two of the ten worst cases of police database abuse in American history.

This is an average of one major and costly scandal per year – and just the ones I know about. This is a tiny department with, what, a dozen officers? Is something wrong with this picture? Is this the department Gruber says is the best around?

This is a failure of leadership, and it starts with Gruber and the chief. There are good officers in this department who are unfairly getting tagged through association with the shenanigans of others. They need leadership, and not the kind of leader who defends someone like Ponce.

Finally, it was Gruber who picked both Nielsen as well as Guerra for police chief. He knew Nielsen had 29 years on the job when he started his tenure as chief. Nielsen retired a year later with full 90% pension benefits. Why are we picking a chief who can just stay one year on the job (or has no incentive to stay more than one year)? Isn't this a real error in judgment?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jan 17, 2010 at 7:50 am

One after another,

Your item # 6 above was also a criminal computer database abuse/crime. That makes at least 3 that we know of. It was public knowledge which your council members were aware of and Steve Wagstaffe of the District Attorneys Office was aware of. It think one of the questions that the residents can look into is why didn't Wagstaffe charge Bob Brennan for illegally accessing the computer system which he openly admits he did. What was/is the impact $ wise to the Town of Atherton for this omission. failure to charge. If he was charged would that have saved Atherton a ton of time, energy and money? At least one of your council members thinks this illegal conduct is OK. I disagree and he and I have communicated about this subject I won't mention him by name but his initials are C.M.

Here is the thread on that very subject:
Web Link

Why did Chief Bob Brennan get a FREE PASS and at what cost if any to the Town of Atherton?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by bulldog
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jan 17, 2010 at 9:31 am

Stogner is makes some good points.

However he raises a question to which the answer is painfully obvious. Perhaps he was being rhetorical.

The answer as to why the past two chiefs got free passes is this: \"Money walks, B.S. talks\".

Atherton is a tresure trove of potential political contributions. Wagstaffe knows how well connected the Atherton Police Chief is.

Remember, it used to be a holiday tradition in Atherton to have cops stand at the corner of Atherton Avenue and the El Camino collecting donations at Christmas time. Even these days, at Christmas, the Atherton police headquarters looks like Santa\'s workshop with all the gifts received from locals.

Stogner also misses a few \"greatest hits\" that will soon come out in civil rights litigation against the Town recently filed in federal court.

2010 will be a year to remember. 2010 will be a year that the Atherton PD is exposed for what it is.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Jan 20, 2010 at 3:54 pm

R.GORDON is a registered user.

RELAX.........you got the message!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Jan 20, 2010 at 3:57 pm

R.GORDON is a registered user.

Louise..........YOU ROCK!
If they don't pay attention, let them make fools of themselves.
A trick learned in economics.


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